Alumni Spotlight: Michael Kane

Michael Kane (PhD ’14) came to CEE for his PhD after spending his master’s research measuring miles of sensing cables for the structural health monitoring (SHM) of bridges. For his PhD, he wanted to learn about innovative wireless technologies that would make SHM easier and cheaper to implement, and CEE Professor Jerry Lynch was paving the way.

Kane joined Lynch’s lab, and proceeded to develop a next-generation wireless sensing and control platform tailored to civil infrastructure systems. Using the new device, he then developed, embedded, and tested distributed model-predictive control techniques for infrastructure systems to improve efficiency and resilience.

This new device is being used by a consortium of universities for wirelessly enabled cyber-physical systems research in civil engineering.

After graduating, Kane became a fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). “I work with other fellows and program directors on investing in breakthrough energy technologies,” Kane says.

One of the things he enjoyed most during his time with CEE was the collaborations.

“University of Michigan has excellence across all disciplines. This allowed me to expand outside the typical box of ‘civil engineering’ and really innovate. With Rackham’s support and Prof. Lynch’s international contacts, I was able to travel and understand the diverse world-wide views of civil engineering challenges. My favorite trip was an NSF summer school in Tokyo, Japan.”

His advice for current students is: “Learn to say no. You can't do everything. Focus on what you find innovative and exciting, resulting in higher quality research.”

You can find more information about his work and interests at


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